Pew Centre poll: Malaysia top among 35 countries for rosy view of Russia and Putin

Malay Mail
Malay Mail
  • Pew Research Centre’s survey shows that 57 per cent of Malaysians now view Russia positively

  • 61 per cent of Malaysians were confident in Russian President Vladimir Putin doing the right thing

  • 63 per cent of Malaysians have little to no confidence in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy doing the right thing in world affairs

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — Malaysians were now more supportive of Russia and its president Vladimir Putin than when they first invaded Ukraine over two years ago, according to Washington-based pollster’s report released last night.

Of respondents in the 35 countries surveyed, Malaysians have the most positive view on Russia and its president Vladimir Putin, which have stayed “very negative” elsewhere since the invasion.

“A median of 65 per cent across 35 countries have an unfavourable view of the country, and 73 per cent have no confidence in Putin doing the right thing regarding world affairs,” Pew Research Centre said in an accompanying press release.

“Malaysia is the only country where a majority express a favourable opinion of Russia, with nearly 6 in 10 Malaysians saying this,” the report said.

Fifty-seven per cent of Malaysians found Russia favourable or somewhat favourable in the survey.

Putin is also most popular in Malaysia, with 61 per cent of Malaysians having “some or a lot of confidence” that the Russian president would do the right thing in current world affairs.

In Malaysia, 63 per cent of the youngest age group — 18 to 35-year-olds — preferred Russia.

Positive sentiments toward Russia also increased in Malaysia and Singapore since its last survey in 2022, immediately following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the report said.

In 2022, just 47 per cent of Malaysians viewed Russia positively and 59 per cent believed in Putin whereas 28 per cent of Singaporeans favoured Russia and 36 per cent believed in Putin.

Now, 34 per cent of Singaporeans viewed Russia positively and 37 per cent believed in Putin. However, public opinion of Russia in Singapore was still largely negative as 63 per cent had unfavourable views of the country and 60 per cent did not have confidence in Putin.

“Malaysia and the Philippines are the only two countries surveyed where majorities express confidence in Putin, including about 2 in 10 in each country who have a lot of confidence in the Russian president,” the report noted.

For the Philippines, however, confidence in Putin dropped five percentage points to 56 per cent in 2024 and its favourability of Russia fell 10 percentage points to 46 per cent this year.

In the same survey, 61 per cent of Malaysians said they had little to no confidence in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy doing the right thing in world affairs.

Global perception of the Ukrainian president was still mixed, however, with an average of 40 per cent of all respondents believing he would “do the right thing” versus 46 per cent saying otherwise.

The study also found that public sentiment about the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) from respondents of its member countries was mostly positive at 63 per cent.

Israel mostly had negative perceptions against Putin and Russia at 84 and 81 per cent respectively.

In Türkiye, 66 per cent of respondents had negative opinions of Putin and 65 per cent had negative opinions of Russia.

This survey was conducted using phone calls with 40,566 adults worldwide conducted from January 5 to May 21, 2024.

Last month, another survey by Pew Research Centre found that more Malaysians believed in Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on global affairs and both US President Joe Biden and his disgraced predecessor Donald Trump ranked lower than French President Emmanuel Macron.

In a report titled “Trust in Media and the Government: An Analysis of Superpower Influence” by Taylor’s University, analytical consulting firm Chasseur Group and Canadian-based think tank Digital Public Square, it found that Malaysians tend to favour China (57 per cent) and Russia (54 per cent) more as superpowers, compared to the United States (41 per cent), with Malay men preferring Russia and men who were older or from the ethnic Chinese community preferring China.

The researchers said that Malaysians may perceive Russia to offer a counterbalance to the United States’ hegemony, with 37 per cent of respondents agreeing that Russia has social media influence in Malaysia. But, it was also said that Russia has the most documented evidence of carrying out foreign interference around the world.